A former police officer in Saudi Arabia’s western region of Medina has reportedly opened fire on his colleagues, killing a colonel and injuring several other policemen before being arrested and taken into custody.
Local sources, requesting not to be named, told Arabic-language al-Mards online newspaper that the ex-policeman, whose identity was not immediately known, fired shots from the window of his house in Taibah neighborhood of al-Duwaimah district on Friday, triggering a fierce exchange of gun fire.
The sources added that the cross fire resulted in the death of Colonel Abdullah bin Ahmed al-Ghamedi and the injury of an unspecified number of police officers.
Back on July 4, 2017, Saudi Arabia’s Interior Minister said a police officer had been killed and three others injured in an attack in the kingdom’s oil-rich and Shia-populated Qatif region in Eastern Province.
The ministry said in a statement, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) at the time, that Vice Sergeant Adel Faleh al-Otaibi lost his life and three of his security companions sustained injuries, when their patrol vehicle was hit by “an explosive projectile” in al-Mosara, the old quarter of the restive town of Awamiyah.
The ministry’s spokesman also said security authorities had begun an investigation into the “terrorist crime”, but gave no further details regarding the incident.
On June 11 that year, a senior Saudi policeman was killed and two members of the security forces were injured when an explosive device blew up beside their patrol vehicle in the same area, located some 390 kilometers (242 miles) northeast of the capital Riyadh.
Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the region.
The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime, with government forces increasing security measures across the province.
Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.
In January 2016, Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was an outspoken critic of Riyadh. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif, Eastern Province, in 2012.
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